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Saudi Arabia Gets Tough With Cyber Criminals

Saudi Arabia announced on March 26, 2007 that it would punish Internet hackers and individuals misusing cell-phone camera such as clicking for unauthorized pictures by imposing sentence of one-year jail and fines amounting to U.S. $133,000, reported Theage on March 27, 2007.

The government further said people spreading malware would have to pay $800,000 and spend four years in prison. That amounts to less than those convicted for spreading vice & dishonesty. The Saudi government will also punish people for hosting websites containing obscene material or content that blemishes humanity, or sites promoting drugs with fines going up to $1.3m and five years in prison.

The new law imposes the severest punishment for those who break into government networks or commit theft of information on national security. The law will also punish those convicted for spreading views on terrorism or sharing terrorism-related information through the Internet. They will face tough sentence of ten years in jail and fines going up to $1.3m. The law will not even spare the accomplices of cyber criminals who will face half sentences. The implementation of the law is expected during April-July 2007.

The bill detailed the description of the crimes as illegal access to a website or intruding a site to deface it with changes in design, destruct or make amendments. It also includes crimes of interfering into people's privacy by taking pictures with mobile phones having cameras and similar apparatus with the intention of defaming or doing other harm. Ttech.monstersandcritics published this on March 28, 2007.

The Shura assembly had submitted a proposal in 2006 that the cabinet passed. The new law from the 120-member Shura Council deals with crimes including hacking or spread of terrorism by using online resources. The council then awaited the enactment of its proposal after its official publication in the government gazette.

After the cabinet's legislation of the bill, it is waiting for the approval from the king, following which it would implement it. This news arrived just after the administration of the oath to office by all members belonging to the Council of Ministers, before King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan.

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